Metrolinx Announces Weston Corridor Airport/GO Study (Updated)

Metrolinx has launched a study of substantially increased rail capacity in the Weston Malton corridor to serve the growing demand on several lines in the northwest as well as a Union-Airport shuttle service.

Affected and proposed GO services include:

  • Brampton (frequent, express all day service)
  • Georgetown (all day service)
  • Guelph (peak service)
  • Bradford (all day service)
  • Bolton (peak service) 

For further information please refer to the Metrolinx project homepage.  There will be six public meetings between February 3 and 12 in various communities.

Worth noting is the timetable which includes several months of consultation, then the formal assessment of the proposal and public comment.

Updated January 24:

Mike Sullivan from the Weston Community Coalition has provided the following information about proposal.

  • From a meeting with Metrolinx Chair Rob MacIsaac, Mike has learned that three tracks are to be added between West Toronto Junction and the Airport, four tracks from the Junction to Union.
  • The tracks on the CN only (not the CP) will be in a trench through Weston, and this will be covered (ventillation will obviously be an issue with diesel trains) from just northwest of Church to just southeast of King.
  • The John Street crossing just north of Weston Station will be closed and replaced with a pedestrian bridge.
  • Air-Rail Link trains will stop at Weston Station.
  • The crossings at Strachan Avenue (west of Bathurst) and Dennison Avenue (about .5 km south of Lawrence) will be grade separated.
  • Operations will be diesel both on GO and the Air-Rail Link.  Electrification might happen in the 15-25 year timeframe.  [By that time, the refurbished Budd cars providing the airport link will be at least 70 years old if they are still in use.]
  • Some land expropriation is likely both for the grade separation at Dennison and at the north end of Weston.
  • Service to Brampton will be every 15 minutes all day long in addition to the airport service and other trains in the corridor.

59 thoughts on “Metrolinx Announces Weston Corridor Airport/GO Study (Updated)

  1. Sorry to interrupt with more Kitchener discussion, but I did want to answer James’ point about Baden, above. The information session I attended in September indicated that a GO railyard (for overnight train storage and refueling) would be built in the Baden/St. Petersburg area. This would also allow the possibility of a west-end station with a large parking lot (GO proposes between Glasgow and Ira Needles, opposite the hydro yard).


  2. If Transit City were to include refurbished 50 year old PCC streetcars, then Adam Giambrone would have been laughed off the stage and announced his retirement to pursue personal endeavours.

    To put it mildly I’m annoyed that politicians have an attention span the same as fruitflies.

    Steve: I believe that this is an example of the thrift shown by the private sector we hear so much about. Of course the fact that they conned the public sector into paying for the infrastructure just shows how clever these folks are. It’s easy to make money when somebody else foots the bills.


  3. No Kristian, it’s 100 year old cable cars that makes SF world class. Otherwise Kenosha, Wisconsin would be something more than a small town between Chicago and Milwaukee.

    But at least they did something with the old American Motors lands on the waterfront.


  4. Those streetcars on the San Fransisco waterfront are fantastic, while they can get very crowded they are a fast way to get between Fisherman’s Wharf and downtown. Much faster then the cable cars, which regular commuters don’t use. The big difference is they have signal priority of course, so they mostly have green lights. This is what Queen’s Quay and Spadina could be one day if they ever decide to implement implement it.


  5. Many residents of San Fran actually prefer to take the surface F-Market line PCCs for commuting purposes rather than venturing into the depths of the MUNI Metro or the even deeper depths of BART. They will often go as far as they can on the surface before transferring to either sub-surface service because it is simply a more pleasureable experience.

    When I visited there the line still looped before the waterfront. While I was waiting at the loop stop a rather sightly local girl in line hit on me and we had a decent chat about many things including the streetcars. All-in-all that trip was a ‘world-class’ experience to me 😉 Toronto still has much to learn about the true value of heritage preservation.


  6. Many major cities don’t feel the need to connect their heavy rail system directly to the airports. In Newark, the Air-Rail link links the airport to a station on the train network. In Paris, the Orly airport is linked to the subway system by an LRT of sorts. The fact is that if the people mover were extended to the rail corridor, there would be no need for a fixed airport link, as it would simply be a stop on another route, and connections could later be provided to the massive redevelopment of the Woodbine grounds. Also, an hour isn’t too long to sit on a GO Train from Hamilton if the equivalent drive would take an hour and a half or more. The idea is that so long as travel time is not too far from highway driving time, then it is within reason to take the train.


  7. Just to comment about Transit in San Francisco…

    I went to California in the Christmas break and i have to say: For all the people that bash the America for transit…think again! While LA is a large sprawl with many many similarities to Toronto’s 905 Belt (even Outer 416 one can argue), the San Francsico Bay Area (not including San Jose) is a very intelligently developed area with bike lanes on every single road in the region (even in the most suburban areas) and an extensive BART system that covers every suburb of the city. The freeway system is sufficient but not over-done just like Toronto’s but the transit system far outpaces what we have in Toronto. Then what was most impressive was that every single freeway had peak HOV lanes and the freeway widths were only 4 lanes each way anyways.

    The most important observation was that they did not have an all-out war on the automobile like people in Toronto are doing but rather building great transit and bicycle lanes so that commuters themselves will willingly choose taking the BART from suburb to suburb rather then being forced into it! Don’t wage a war on the car, compete with it!

    Toronto is a mix between New York – San Francisco – and Los Angeles. The pattern goes from the core and outwards basically…

    We have a long long way to go before becoming even San Francisco, forget New York…


  8. I do worry that this proposal will negate rather permanently using the corridor for effective public transit. There is a need for expedited service over medium distances that neither GO nor TTC actually really serves, and a TTC/public transit route on this corridor would do much to provide better transit, or even some transit, for maybe 700,000?
    We shouldn’t be so obliging to roll over and applaud this just because it’s “transit” – TO should have some real benefits to projects within our borders.


  9. Oh, with the Rail Trail – as much as I’m a cyclist and favour bikes, the highest and best use of this corridor is for transit. The railtrail, while good, may need to be sacrificed but only for effective transit, and we should also ensure that we think of putting a deck on the TTC transit with the bike path atop it.


  10. A dedicated line is a private-sector sham, and a waste of money. There’s already a GO line there, so expand it, electrify it, and have it stop at both Weston and the Bloor subway. Effectively you get a poor-man’s DRL, and something that west-end Torontonians might even use. Heck, re-brand it if colour or image is a problem, but by no means should we waste any money building a dedicated train line that only moves people between the airport and downtown for a premium price — it WILL NOT GET USED!


  11. “GO Train service from K-W to add trips to Toronto sounds great, but at what point does a trip on the GO train, even express from Brampton, get too long? It’s currently 58 minutes from Georgetown to Union, I don’t know what the trip times from Guelph to Georgetown were when the GO trains ran to Guelph from 1991-1993, but then adding additional time for Kitchener starts making for one VERY long ride.”

    After the most recent schedule revisions the trip takes exactly 60 minutes for a train making all station stops. I don’t how how you consider this to be a very long ride when you compare it to the alternatives. Clearly you have never attempted to drive from Georgetown to Downtown Toronto by car.

    Currently its one of the shorter runs on GO transits system from one end of the line to the other. If you thought that was long I wonder what you’d think about the Barrie to Union trip which takes more then 90 minutes. Yet that hasn’t prevented that extension from being a big success.

    In any case the length of the trips will be shortened in the future once new capacity is added to the system and GO transit starts to implement their express service.


  12. People from Barrie seem to be happy to sit on a GO Train for 90 minutes at present. Bowmanville will probably be near that too.

    However, apart from the fact that it encourages people to believe that living a hundred km from your workplace is a sane idea, it might be said that extending GO further and further will take attention away from developing true inter-regional service, with a target speed of 120-160km/h which fits between GO and VIA and in the case of at least VIA with seamless through-ticketing.

    In some cases this would involve taking over VIA services which are regional rather than cross-boundary (Kingston-Windsor stoppers, Niagara Falls stoppers, Sarnia) so that VIA trains would be accelerated and equipment concentrated on increasing frequency for priority services.

    The eventual aim would be to integrate destinations like Peterborough (140km or so), Orillia (132km), Washago (140km) and even Parry Sound (240km)/North Bay (340km), rather than ramming 400 series highways further and further into Northern/Northeastern Ontario.


  13. Steve, do you have any idea what the (CN or CP) project going on between Bathurst and Spadina is? About 4 (rarely-used) tracks have been removed, on the northern edge of the tracks – right next to the Front Street extension.

    I didn’t think the Railpath (from the junction) was going to come so close to downtown. Are the tracks going back in, or is this strip of land in the rail corridor going to be used for something else?

    Steve: This is a mystery to me. Does anyone out there have info about this?


  14. That would be GO’s Bathurst street layover yard. The yard is normally used to store rush hour GO trains during the daytime, otherwise it is unoccupied. The land and tracks are owned by GO transit.

    As it was the yard could only store 10 car trains sets. GO transit must reconfiguring/reconstructing the yard before it can accommodate 12 car train-sets. The new yard should be completed by the end of the year.


  15. Can anyone tell me what the significance of the Holly house being shown on this map is? If you click on full screen pop up and zoom in, you will see it there. Sorry for the long link. If it does not work, let me know, and i will get you going in the right direction.

    Steve: Maybe I am blind, but I don’t see anything labelled Holly House on this particular map. If it’s on any map, it is possible that it is on the list of heritage properties in the study area.


  16. The reason for diesel and speed of construction has nothing to do with any need for immediate service. It has to do with the Pan-Am games in 2015. One of the pitches will be the new, modern, air-rail-link (using 55 year old BUDD diesels).

    Yesterday a Metrolinx representative told me that the BUDD cars meet current US FRA crashworthiness standards (I believe only the 800,000 lb buff strength, not the rest). I’ve asked for proof. My fear is that two of the tracks will be assigned exclusively for Blue 22 because of the safety issue of not mixing with freight/heavy locomotives.

    Steve: Those Budd cars ran intermixed with freight traffic (even with steam locomotives!) for years.

    I also challenged the notion that none of the corridor improvements are expressly for Blue 22, because 2 tracks are all that is planned between the Airport and Brampton, and 4 tracks are needed east of the airport. The response was that to run GO trains with 15 minute headway between Brampton and the Airport WILL require 4 tracks.

    The folks in Weston want the whole thing buried (they have given us a trench with a lid on a 300 metre portion of it), they want it electric, they want it to have reasonable fares, and to stop in communities along the route. If we’re spending $855 Million on this beast, that’s the least we should expect.


  17. The Holley House was built before the railroad, and is one of the last, if not the last, remaining adobe brick structures in Ontario. It is the last house on the south side of the track, east of the humber, before the trestle.

    There is community concern that the house will not survive a seven-fold increase in heavy rail traffic right against it.


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